My Review (5 stars out of 5)
When sixteen-year-old Harriet Vanger disappears from a family gathering, the very fact of her living on an island owned by her family – the powerful Vanger clan – has huge implications for the police investigation. Forty years later, the girl’s body has never been found, but her uncle believes Harriet was murdered– quite possibly by a member of his own family.
Meanwhile, discredited financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist is forced to take a year off from his role at Millennium magazine. Knowing that at some point he must spend three months in jail, he accepts an assignment from Henrick Vanger. The task is to write a history of the Vanger family, while secretly also investigating the disappearance of Harriet. Though Blomkvist is initially reluctant, he becomes fascinated with the mystery and takes on a young researcher – the tattooed computer hacker Lisbeth Salander to help. But their investigation unearths a series of murders linked to the Vangers and soon lands the pair in a dangerous web of murder, deceit and lies.
Having not read any Stieg Larsson before, I decided to tackle the first book in the Millennium trilogy as an audiobook. From the start it’s clear this is a complex mystery and as the author has a habit of going into the background of pretty much every character we encounter, the story takes a while to take shape. However, when it does, I found myself unable to leave it alone and listened to most of the book over a period of two days. The characters are a disparate lot and some of the events depicted are disturbing, not least in the case of Ms Salander. If cosy mysteries are more your thing, this book will blow your mind.
After the initial set-up, Larsson’s writing drew me in, creating a highly sophisticated plot that could rival any of the world’s top thriller writers. Before finishing this volume, I’d ordered the Millennium trilogy in paperback and can’t wait to move on to the next one.
A thrilling and compelling read that kept me gripped all the way through.